Orlando City condemns fans for throwing trash in loss to Atlanta
Orlando City condemned the actions of its fans on Sunday night after a number of supporters threw objects on the pitch throughout the 2-1 defeat to Atlanta United.
Some fans threw debris onto the pitch after Atlanta scored each of its goals in the first half of the teams’ budding rivalry, but the problem became more widespread in second-half stoppage time after shouts for a foul were waved away following a challenge by Atlanta defender Leandro Gonzalez Pirez.
Orlando City CEO called the incidents “unacceptable” on Twitter as the club issued a statement saying it “does not support or condone the unacceptable actions” of its fans.
“The club is using available resources to identify offenders, who will be penalized for their behavior in accordance with Major League Soccer and Orlando City Stadium regulations,” it said.
“Orlando City SC takes great pride in the passion of its supporters and how they make Orlando City Stadium the most difficult venue to play at in MLS, but the safety of fans, players, officials and staff members is our top priority.”
— ProSoccerUSA.com (@ProSoccerUSAcom) May 14, 2018
Orlando City coach Jason Kreis also called on the fans to refrain from throwing objects again.
“The crowd, we can’t be that. We can’t do that,” Kreis said after the game. We certainly want to be a very, very difficult place to play. We need to show the right amount of restraint in that moment to not be throwing on the field. We just can’t, can’t do that.”
Atlanta manager Tata Martino said the proximity of the stands to the pitch in Orlando may have played a factor, and suggested fans keep express their displeasure verbally.
“You can tell that it’s a beautiful environment,” Martino said. “I think the fans are great, it’s a good environment here. It’s unfortunate what happened at the end because it’s great that the fans want to support their team all game but if there’s a missed call or if there is in disagreement with something the referee said then I think there are better ways to express it, maybe with some kind of chant.”
Orlando’s defeat ended the club’s run of six consecutive wins.
Frustrations on the pitch also threatened to boil over as Orlando midfielder Sacha Kljestan and left-back Mohamed El-Munir argued with each other in the 87th minute, though Kreis said the players later apologized to each other.
“You have two players that are the ultimate competitors,” Kreis said. “They don’t like being down again at home. They’re striving for more, they want to do better. So, it comes from a very honest place.”